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Is Trump Trying to Start a War?

Unsplash | Humphrey Muleba
By Brian Hurwitz

Donald Trump was recently impeached by the United States Congress, and many are wondering just how far he is willing to go to avoid the same result in the Senate. By sanctioning the bombing of the Baghdad Airport and killing General Qassem Soleimani, the former leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the second most powerful man in Iran, there are those in the media and around the world who believe Trump is willing to start a war to secure his Presidency as well as his bid at re-election.

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President Trump
Gettyimages | NICHOLAS KAMM

Rather than avoid controversy, Trump has courted it throughout his time in office. No matter the circumstance, he consistently proves there is nothing he won't say to defend himself against what he perceives as an offense to his beliefs, his politics or his character. And nothing has proven to be a more personal affront to the President than the attempts to remove him from office. On top of which, he is facing a serious challenge in the upcoming Presidential election from whomever the Democrats choose to represent them.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes questions about the death of General Soleimani.
Gettyimages | Laszlo Balogh

Trump launched the strike that killed General Soleimani in response to an attack on an Iraqi military base that resulted in the death of an American civilian contractor and wounded a number of American military personnel. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, claimed the President authorized the attack in response to reports that General Soleimani was planning an "imminent attack" against American interests in the region. Regardless of the stated reason, many elected officials are questioning Trump's actual motives. Representative Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee, was amongst those who were quick to condemn the President's decision.

Those who criticize that decision claim the President's response was disproportionate. In response to the death of General Soleimani, Iran vowed revenge. Trump was quick to warn that country's government with thinly veiled threats of leveling several of their cultural heritage sites should Iran indeed retaliate. Were the President to follow through with such threats, it would violate international law. As of last night, Iran launched two separate rocket attacks at American bases in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, the media has been so focused on the conflict that coverage of the upcoming Senate impeachment trial has waned.

Although Trump is believed to have enough support from Republicans in the Senate to avoid impeachment, many worry he is intentionally escalating the conflict with Iran in hopes it shores up his base voters and inspires undecided ones to keep him in office. The trial is set to begin this month, despite the fact that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has yet to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. When she ultimately does, Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court will preside over the proceedings.

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